Colorado's existing workers' compensation rules and regulations are not structured to anticipate the complexities of a pandemic of this nature, where first responders and healthcare workers are instructed to quarantine themselves away from work even before a positive test confirms transmission.
First responders and front-line healthcare workers' occupational environment uniquely necessitates and significantly increases their direct exposure to COVID-19. Accordingly, Pinnacol is instituting an emergency policy to provide wage replacement benefits to first responders and front-line healthcare workers for up to 14 days of quarantine.
The cost of this benefit will not be applied to the premium calculation of our healthcare and first responder policyholders. This time-limited benefit is not reportable to NCCI. No benefits will be paid after the quarantine period has ended unless the worker develops COVID-19. In those cases, the existing statute regarding payment of work-related infectious disease will apply.
Bear in mind that in most cases, exposure and contraction of COVID-19 are not considered to be a work-related condition. Typically, the contraction of COVID-19 in the workplace is considered incidental or common to all employment. Each claim will be looked at on a case-by-case basis, but it is unlikely most will meet the criteria for exposure to be eligible for benefits.
We may revise this policy if circumstances change. In addition, the Division of Workers' Compensation or the Division of Insurance may develop additional rules in response to the impact this pandemic is having on workers in our state. We will inform you and our customers of any changes immediately.
You can find additional detailed information on short-term COVID-19-related wage replacement benefits here.